Words Matter. Undoubtedly you’ve heard this thought expressed numerous times and in different ways. When we hear 2 different ways of communicating the same idea, our reaction can be very different—primarily due to the words chosen. One may really engage us, another that expresses the exact same thought could upset us. And a third way could gender thinking and make us remember what was said. In his recent book, To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink provides several examples of when words make a difference—and perhaps, more importantly, he explains why.
Nothing is more important to sales professionals than to have positive relationships with their customers. In selling, relationships are everything. Yet it seems that building relationships has become even more challenging today’s complicated world of technology and social media. In some ways these “tools” have become more of a hindrance when trying to build meaningful business relationships. The reality is that there are time honored rules about connecting with people…and they are as relevant today as ever. Allow me to share the 5 ways you can network better—so you can develop those essential relationships.
Customers are not known for being open and honest when approached by sales people. In fact, studies confirm that during a typical sales call, customers only reveal about 20% of their thoughts. So how do we tap into that other 80%? Sounds quite challenging, doesn’t it? The answer lies in gaining access—both physical and mental.
Perhaps Mark Twain said it best, “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Congress is experiencing its lowest approval ratings ever. Moreover, folks don’t seem to be too excited about either candidate running for President. In this political environment, wouldn’t it be great if the candidate running for office said something that was meaningful and that resonated with you? That is what seems to be missing; that connection with voters which is the way to generate some real enthusiasm—and some votes. Why don’t politicians connect with their electorate? Here are 5 reasons why from where I sit...
It is impossible to persuade or influence someone if they don’t listen to what you say. So before you can attempt to sell your product, you first have to get your customers to listen to you. This is not as easy as it sounds. It is hard to give someone your undivided attention yet very easy for customers/ prospects to become distracted and/or to multitask when they talk to sales people. Following these guidelines will help ensure that your potential customers will listen to what you have to say.
Pepsi designed what they thought was a great ad campaign for the Middle East but something got lost in the translation. Trying to appeal to this male dominated society and knowing the importance of visuals, they created a series of poster boards that told a story. In the first picture is a Middle Eastern man on the beach looking parched. The next panel shows a butler bringing this individual an ice cold glass of Pepsi. The final frame shows this man with his thirst quenched surrounded by beautiful women. Sounds like a winner, doesn’t it? You may be surprised to learn that 6 months later, sales of Pepsi plummeted.
The true value of any philosophy/tenet is proven when its concepts can be effectively applied outside their area of original intent. One of my colleagues, Joan, shared her story of how the Thinking Like a Customer mindset/philosophy and other Delta Point tenets (Words Matter, creating a safe environment, using soft words) helped create an impact within her community—far removed from the typical selling interaction. I think her story is worth sharing.
Mark Twain is contributed with saying “Figures don't lie, but liars figure.” This tends to give a negative interpretation of how someone can manipulate data to prove a point. I would offer a different hypothesis about presenting data—to state the facts but in a slightly different way. The goal is not to obfuscate the facts but to have the customer say “I never saw it that way before.” Or ““You know, I never thought of that before.”
Relationships tend to be among those things we take for granted. We rarely consider them organizational or personal assets. But one could argue that they may be more worthwhile than those myriad of other things that we focus on. The reality is that relationships are crucial to our success and deserve some attention and planning too. I received a reminder of this when I got an email from a friend based on a blog about Reid Hoffman, “Do THIS In the Next Day, Week, and Month for a Stronger Network”. I agree with many of his suggestions so I’m including them here—but with a bit of Jerry Acuff added in.
All conversations are voluntary. We sometimes forget that fact. When we make an appointment to talk to a customer, we tend to rely on that fact and assume that the person will be interested in talking to us. But your customer likely did not intend to sit through a monologue. You want to have a sales conversation—which means that both of you talk and both of you listen. As the sales person, you want to foster an environment in which great conversations can occur between you and your customer/prospect.